Has anyone ever seen a band at Disney that didn’t have great musicians?

DanRH

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Specifically Disney World (never been to Disneyland). I haven’t. Every time I’ve seem a band, regardless of the genre, the musicianship has been top notch. We were having dinner last night at Epcot in the Morocco Marrakesh which had a keyboard player that was killing it on a single Roland keyboard. Saw a Canadian band playing Canadian jigs that were fantastic musicians.

Anyway got me thinkin, in all my visits over the past 50 years, not once have I’ve seen anyone phoning it in.

Anyone here ever played there and want to disclose any insight or secrets?
 

Tornado

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Been to Disney World once, don't remember any music. But I have been to other parks like Six Flags and the musicians are really good. I think it's kind of like getting on a cruise ship. I've never met a musician who played cruise ships who wasn't a killer.
 

Trilock_Gurtu

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I remember playing Disneyland with our HS Jazz band, years ago. It was super hot out. We checked out the other acts, everyone I saw was top players, regardless of age. Josh Freese did that gig a lot, his Dad ran bands for both Disneyland and Disneyworld.
 

ARGuy

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Back in the 70's my college band was at Disney World. The band we were waiting for played on the hour, and right on time there was an announcement and they hustled out to their places with their instruments in hand. The drummer had just one pair of sticks and a cocky look. I thought that was pretty optimistic. It was a great band, and the drummer was very good, but part way through the last tune he dropped a stick so he had to play the rest of the tune with one hand. He didn't look quite so cocky as he picked up the stick he had dropped leaving the stage.
 

Tilter

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I've been three times over the years. On my first trip, Gin Blossoms were playing at an outdoor amphitheater in Epcot and they sounded fantastic. All the park musicians that I recall seeing were excellent players as well.
 

kdgrissom

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I live about 1.5 hours away. I haven't been there since my kids were little about 25 years ago. I do know a number of former and current musicians at the "Mouse". They are all fine musicians, and some of their stories are hilarious.
In the early days of WDW (circa 1971), a lot of the musicians were retired ex-military band guys along with other pros.
I was told that they had to go through a Disney indoctrination class before working in the park and that there was a rule that you were required to smile while on stage.
A Clarinet player I knew told me of a incident where he was playing in a Dixieland band in one of the Gazebos in the early 70's. As they were playing, he couldn't help noticing the Mickey Mouse character was being abused by a skinny redneck teen standing behind him and shaking the ears on his costume head piece (this was before all the Characters had attendants with them). "Mickey" eventually reached his limit, wheeled around and put the long-haired kid in a head lock and began sucker-punching him with those big, white mouse hand gloves. The band was unable to finish the tune, they were laughing so hard. Yes, Mickey got fired.
 

repete

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We go frequently. We were at Epcot Tuesday and caught a few bands that all sounded great. Disney doesn’t cut corners on much at all.
 

Bri6366

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There are some excellent musicians/performers and some really good percussion ensembles as well. There was a really good one in Animal Kingdom and a good one in Germany as well. The drummers in Japan are a staple there. I was actually sent a couple of surveys of the performances of a couple of the acts last year. I guess the magic band knew I was watching them.

There are also some good national acts at EPCOT as well. Last year the Spinners where there, but I missed their performances. This year the Guess Who was at EPCOT. Missed that as well.
 

Drum Gear Review

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A friend of mine's father has been a career Disney musician for decades if I recall correctly. He's an outstanding singer songwriter. I'm surprised by something he does every time I hear him play. I assumed a lot of their musicians were of the same caliber.

In addition to passing what I imagine is a pretty demanding audition process, those players are also getting tons of reps every day. That's got to be a tremendous situation for improving skill. They're probably starting good and getting better fast.
 

LauraCai

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I live close to Disney World & have gone many times, although less now as the crowds & waits have gotten much worse imo, but I digress.....

Yes, all the musicians I have ever seen there, from the larger ensemble performances to the solo musicians playing in small restaurants, have all been great musicians. And they all fit whatever genre they are representing astoundingly well, right down to their look & stage persona.

The Animal Kingdom percussion ensemble that was mentioned above was great.

I spoke with the great colonial fife & drum corp marching drummers, who played at the America pavilion in Epcot, & they did other drum-related gigs outside Disney as well. They played the period-correct rope-tuned deep marching drums too, which sounded great.
 

Drm1979

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I live about 1.5 hours away. I haven't been there since my kids were little about 25 years ago. I do know a number of former and current musicians at the "Mouse". They are all fine musicians, and some of their stories are hilarious.
In the early days of WDW (circa 1971), a lot of the musicians were retired ex-military band guys along with other pros.
I was told that they had to go through a Disney indoctrination class before working in the park and that there was a rule that you were required to smile while on stage.
A Clarinet player I knew told me of a incident where he was playing in a Dixieland band in one of the Gazebos in the early 70's. As they were playing, he couldn't help noticing the Mickey Mouse character was being abused by a skinny redneck teen standing behind him and shaking the ears on his costume head piece (this was before all the Characters had attendants with them). "Mickey" eventually reached his limit, wheeled around and put the long-haired kid in a head lock and began sucker-punching him with those big, white mouse hand gloves. The band was unable to finish the tune, they were laughing so hard. Yes, Mickey got fired.
That's awesome. That Mickey should not have been fired. He shoulda got a raise.
 

KevinD

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Been to both a number of times and agree that the musical talent was of a very high caliber.

Back when I was in about 9th grade, I visited Disneyland with my family, there was a very good cover band playing in Tommorrowland on a stage that would disappear into the ground.

I thought the drummer was very good, he was playing a white Lugwig, Quadra Plus. I managed to chat with him between sets at one point, very nice guy... a couple of years later I was surprised to see that same drummer was featured in Modern Drummer with some photos of him sitting at that same Quadra Plus... turns out it was Chad Wackerman.
 

On the one

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Never been to Disneyworld but at Disneyland both parks have good musicians. From the Dixieland band on Main street to the jazz band in New Orleans square. Some of the bands play top 40 current and classic. I've been there on grad night where they invite other bands to play and they were good. No Doubt played the Tomorrowland stage before also. I heard to get a gig there is not easy
 

Buffalo_drummer

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We go to Disney at least once a year [vaca club members] and I've never seen a bad musical act there. Even if I don't like the music, the musicianship and sound are top notch.

I wish I could remember the gentleman's name but I had the chance to talk to the drummer/leader of the Jazz/Big Band group that played around Disney. He was actually the first to let me hear a DW edge snare in person. He was playing it with a vintage kit and he made it sound fantastic. He told me he came to Disney many, many years ago and made a great living playing music full time in the parks. Based on the gig he could ordered and kit and cymbals from the Disney musical warehouse, he said they have racks and racks of new and vintage gear to choose from along with cymbals. Call them up and they deliver it to the gig site. Sounds like a dream.
 
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I worked at Disney when I first relocated to Orlando 8 years ago. Alas, I was in the sanitation department. Having many years in Waste management in North jersey. My Co-workers all knew I was Drummer and encouraged me to apply when a Percussionist slot opened up. I had the opportunity to speak with some of the musicians in the cast dinning room. Let me tell you this, not only do you need to be a top notch player but also to be able to sight read quickly and perfectly. Just like reading a book, magazine or internet message board. A Musician I spoke with said during "several" interviews ( he was a guitarist) He was standing in front of his stand as he was handed sheet music and told " play " Like instantly. Not only that but it has already been mentioned that your look and appearance need to be appropriate also. My skill set in both playing and reading are woefully inadequate for a gig like this. The vast majority of Musicians aren't near this level of competence. However, if your are it's a great gig
 

Vistalite Black

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Treviso1

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There was a great drummer at Disneyland back in 1987 playing a black Yamaha Recording Custom in the pop band. This guy was just smokin'...he handled pop, latin, jazz, etc...like there was no tomorrow. I think that he later because a DW endorser, but for the life of me...I can't remember his name. I swear, I think it was Joey Heredia...but, I'm not sure. All I know is this cat tore it up like few can do.
 
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